Articles in Category: Fall Color

Amsonia 'Blue Ice'

on Monday, 31 May 2021. Posted in Attracts Pollinators, Native, Fall Color, Perennial, Deer Resistant, Flowering Plants

'Blue Ice' Bluestar

Amsonia Blue Ice edit

The American Horticultural Society named Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ as one of its “75 Great Plants for American Gardens’, and it is easy to see why! Easy to grow, attractive foliage, lovely periwinkle-blue flowers, and great fall color: Amsonia ‘Blue Ice’ deserves a space in any sunny perennial garden.

 

‘Blue Ice’ is native to the southeastern US, but is finding increasing popularity here on the West Coast. It gets about 15” tall by 24” wide and has a nice, soft clumping shape, which helps it blend in nicely with other plants in a mixed border. Late spring/early summer flowers put on a great show – and in the fall, the foliage turns a warm golden color.

 

Plants grow best in full sun – they get a little soft and floppy in partial shade - and deadheading will help prolong flowering. ‘Blue Ice’ is tolerant of most soils; even clay soil, as long as the soil isn’t waterlogged. As an added bonus, the latex sap in plant stems makes it unpalatable to deer, but butterflies and other pollinators find the flowers irresistible!

Cornus

on Monday, 19 April 2021. Posted in Berries Attract Wildlife, Fall Color, Trees

Dogwoods

Better general dogwood cropFew flowering trees are more beloved than the Dogwoods. Seeing one in full bloom - their branches covered with clouds of white (or occasionally, pink) flowers – makes you immediately start thinking about where you might have room for one in your yard!

The tree dogwoods we carry here at Shooting Star Nursery fall into three groups: Cornus florida, which is native to the eastern US; Cornus kousa, which is native to eastern Asia; and Cornus nuttallii, which is native to the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

One of the keys to keeping your dogwoods happy lies in understanding what their native habitat is like. In the wild, most types of dogwoods grow as understory trees; protected from the heat of afternoon sun. They also tend to prefer well-drained soils that are rich in organic materials. In general, Cornus florida and its cultivars prefer afternoon shade and a good layer of mulch to keep the roots cool and moist during the summer. Cornus kousa is more sun and heat tolerant than C. florida, and most of the best cultivars for the Rogue Valley have C. kousa as one of the parent species. While we rarely carry Cornus nuttallii, two of the largest-flowering dogwoods we carry have C. nuttallii as a parent.

Here are a few of the Dogwoods varieties Shooting Star carries regularly:

 

Cornus florida Cultivars:
Cherokee Brave: Flowers feature dark pink to reddish bracts that fade to white in the center. Red foliage in fall. 25’ tall by 20-25’ wide.

 

cornus florida rubra sm crop2Rubra: Another pink-flowered Dogwood, a softer shade of pink than Cherokee Brave. 20’ tall and wide.

 

  

Cornus kousa Cultivars:
Galilean: Creamy white floral bracts come to a point at the tip. Flowers are large, and are followed by bright red fruits in fall, which is much appreciated by birds like Robins and Cedar Waxwings! 20’ tall and wide.

 

Cornus kousa Milkyway 1000x1000Milky Way: Pure white, long-lasting flowers and abundant fall fruit. One of the smaller Dogwoods – generally 15’ by 15’.

 

 

Cornus Hybrids:
Celestial: A C. florida x C. kousa hybrid. Celestial is a sterile variety (no fruit) with white flowers that turn pink as they mature. 20’ by 20’. 

 

Eddies White WonderEddie’s White Wonder: A C. florida x C. nuttallii hybrid. Big white flowers - 3-4” across - on a large tree. To 40’ tall and wide. 

 

 

Starlight: A C. kousa x C. nuttallii hybrid. White flowers. Prefers partial shade. 30’ x 20’. 

 

venus dogwood cropVenus: Another C. kousa x C. nuttalli hybrid. Venus has absolutely huge white flowers - up to 6” across! 25’ x 25’. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panicum virgatum

on Thursday, 01 October 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Fall Color, Deer Resistant, Grasses, Flowering Plants

Switchgrass

Echinacea and PanicumPanicum virgatum – also known as Switchgrass – is native to the tallgrass prairies of the Great Plains. Its height, texture, and stunning fall color have made it a favorite of gardeners throughout the Rogue Valley.

Switchgrass is drought tolerant and deer resistant, but will also tolerate clay soils well. Plants prefer full sun and relatively lean soil (over-fertilized plants can get floppy). Light, airy flower heads appear in mid-summer and remain attractive through the winter months; providing four-season interest in the garden.

As with all ornamental grasses here in the Rogue Valley, we recommend leaving the grasses standing through the winter (the leaves provide habitat for beneficial insects and the seeds are beloved by overwintering birds) and cut back in late winter/early spring.

We carry three different varieties of Switchgrass here at Shooting Star Nursery:

Panicum Heavy MetalHeavy Metal – Striking metallic blue-gray leaves with airy buff-pink flower heads. Plants reach 5-6’ tall by 2-3’ wide.

 

Northwind – Strong, upright growth habit; blue-green leaves turn a lovely tawny gold in the fall. Reaches 6’ by 3’. Northwind was the 2014 Perennial Plant of the Year. See photo at top of the page.

 

Panicum2cropShenandoah – During the growing season, green leaves are tipped with reddish-purple and the whole plant turns red and orange in the fall. Truly striking! 3-4’ tall by 18” wide.

Ginkgo biloba

on Thursday, 24 September 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Showy Bark/Stems, Fall Color, Trees

Maidenhair Tree

Autumn goldWhen most people think of fall color, their minds immediately go to the bright scarlets of maples and oaks. But we’re guessing that’s probably just because they’ve never seen a Ginkgo tree in its full fall color.

Ginkgos – or Maidenhair Trees - turn a rich, buttery gold in fall. They’re especially stunning when planted against a backdrop of dark green conifers. When the leaves finally do drop, they tend to do so all at once, forming a brilliant golden carpet around the base of the tree. They’re also tolerant of air pollution and a wide variety of soil types; making them valuable as a tough, long-lived street tree that works well in both urban or rural situations.

Big ginkgoThey’re also one of the oldest tree species in the world. Ginkgo leaves have been found in fossils that date back to over 250 million years ago, which means they were around when dinosaurs still walked the earth!

Ginkgos tend to be a long-lived, low-maintenance tree. They like at least a half-day sun, but will do fine in full sun as well. Once established. Trees do fine with deep, infrequent watering. Young trees tend to be slow growing, but once established they can put on 1-2’/year

We regularly carry the following varieties of Ginkgo here at Shooting Star Nursery:

Autumn Gold – Broadly pyramidal, 45’ by 35’. Angular, linear branches

Golden Colonnade – 45’x 25’, narrow, oval shape

Princeton Sentry – The most tightly columnar of the group – 40’ x 15’. Stiffly upright, narrow, pyramidal shape

Parrotia persica

on Friday, 18 September 2020. Posted in Winter Interest, Showy Bark/Stems, Fall Color, Trees

Persian Ironwood

parrotia persica logiegarden ras 09 2011 03 gpp fallParrotia persica – or Persian Ironwood – is one of the fall foliage season’s best-kept secrets – and that’s a real shame. If you’d like to broaden your yard’s fall color palette beyond the usual flaming red maples, we’d highly recommend this tree!

Parrotia flowerIn fact, Parrotia provides true four-season interest in the landscape. In late winter, tiny red flowers – similar to witch hazel flowers – appear, followed by bronzy-colored new leaves. As the leaves unfurl, they turn a rich green, providing a nice dense canopy of shade during the summer months.

parrotia persica ras 04 2012 01 gpp barkFall, though, is when Parrotias really begin to shine; putting a great show of color, with foliage turning shades of yellow, orange, and red. Even when the leaves drop, there’s still plenty to look at. As Parrotias mature, their bark begins to exfoliate; leaving dappled patches of color along the trunk.

A small to medium-sized shade tree, Parrotia will get between 20-30’ tall, and about 20’ wide. They’re generally unfussy trees and are tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, including clay soil and air pollution. Their compact size also makes them great street trees.

Looking for something narrower to fit into a small space? There are two varieties of Parrotia that will do the trick! Persian Spire gets about 25’ tall, and just 10’ wide; growing in a lovely upright, columnar shape. Vanessa is a bit larger: about 28’ by 14’, and was given an Award of Garden Excellence by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society in 2020.